This article will give you an overview of all our health experts’ advice on re-opening your business post-lockdown. As restrictions are lifted, businesses across the UK are able to re-open their doors for the first time in months. Boris Johnson’s latest announcement even said that from the 1st August employers could recall their staff to the office. These are exciting developments. However, trying to sift through government legislation and health jargon alone can be a daunting and off-putting task. That’s why we’ve put together a ‘plain English’ 5 step guide to re-opening your business.
Step 1: Communicate
The first thing to do when considering the return to work is speak to your team. Each employee will have specific concerns and it is important to take stock of these before you go any further. Read TFA’s in-house health expert, Dr Coldicott’s tips for more advice on this.
Step 2: Assess
A COVID-19 risk assessment is a legal requirement when bringing your team back to work. Doing the risk assessment will also help you think through processes and changes that you might otherwise have forgotten. Find out how to do a COVID risk assessment here, from TFA’s Dr Hoenderkamp.
Step 3: Be flexible
Some offices or workplaces will need to make more changes than others to become COVID secure and support their staff. Make sure you consult with your HR/Operations personnel and don’t be opposed to overhauling your normal ways of working. For instance, you might consider splitting your team into sub-teams who work on the same days.
Step 4: Be sure
A watertight back to work strategy may well include some form of COVID testing regimen. Testing staff has the benefit of making them feel reassured, and making your business stand out as ultra-secure. Find out more about why you should test your team for COVID here.
Step 5: Be open
Once you have done the above steps, run all the measures and proposals by your employees once again to ensure they are happy. Make sure the risks and the changes are entirely transparent to your team. Remain open to changing and adapting your measures as the situation develops.
Back to work planning should be seen as a process, rather than a box to be ticked. The most important message is to remain transparent and flexible. Don’t presume that you can or should be attempting to recreate the workplace experience that you had before COVID-19. Just as we have learnt to accept the ‘new normal’ in our home lives, now it is time to embrace the ‘new normal’ in the workplace.